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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 1 today (and 8 NFP)

For publication opinions today (1):

In Alva Electric, Inc., Arc Construction Co., Inc., Danco Construction, Inc., Deig Brothers Lumber & Construction Co., Inc., et al. v. Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp., and EVSC Foundation, Inc. , a 35-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge Kirsch writes:

Eight contracting firms (“Contractors”),1 on behalf of themselves and all similarly situated taxpayers within the district of Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (“School Corporation”), sued School Corporation and EVSC Foundation, Inc. (“Foundation”) for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, claiming that School Corporation’s renovation of an administration building should have been subject to the competitive bidding procedures required for a public work project under Indiana Code section 36-1-12-4 and that the actions taken to accomplish the renovation constituted an antitrust violation under Indiana Code section 24-1-2-3. Contractors filed a motion for summary judgment and School Corporation and Foundation each filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The trial court denied Contractors’ motion and granted summary judgment in favor of School Corporation and Foundation.

On appeal, we address the following consolidated and restated issues:
I. Whether the issues before this court are moot;
II. Whether the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of School Corporation and Foundation on Contractors’ claim:
(A) under Indiana’s Public Lawsuit Statute (“Public Lawsuit Statute”), Indiana Code sections 34-13-5-1 through -12, because the renovation of the administration building constituted a public work project that should have been subject to the public bidding laws of Indiana Code chapter 36-1-12; and
(B) because the combination of the six contracts used to renovate the administration building was a “scheme, contract, or combination to restrain or restrict bidding for the letting of any contract for a private or public work,” in violation of Indiana’s Antitrust Act (“Antitrust Act”), Indiana Code sections 24-1-2-1 through -12.

We reverse and remand with instructions. * * *

[Re I, mootness] Accordingly, we will address this case upon the merits regardless of whether it is technically moot. See Save Our Sch., 951 N.E.2d at 246-47 (regardless of whether moot, court addressed question concerning closing of public school for stated budgetary reasons because, as question of great public interest, it was likely to recur). * * *

[Re II(A), public lawsuit statute] The trial court concluded, and we agree, that School Corporation “selected a contractor to renovate a public building according to plans prepared by an architect selected by the School and fully intended to pay for the project and in fact is paying for the project with public funds, without following the public bidding laws.” Id. This scheme has not been authorized by our General Assembly and, indeed, violates the public bidding laws that it has enacted. * * *

[Re II(B), antitrust act] The trial court concluded that there was no violation of the Antitrust Act because it found no violation of the Public Bidding Laws ... Because we hold that the scheme utilized by the School Corporation and the Foundation did, indeed, violate the Public Bidding Laws, we vacate the trial court’s judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this decision.

Reversed and remanded with instructions.

PYLE, J., concurs.
FRIEDLANDER, J., dissents with separate opinion. [that begins, at p. 30 of 35] Because I believe the actions of School Corporation and Foundation were lawful and not subject to competitive bidding procedures, I respectfully dissent.

NFP civil opinions today (4):

The First Baptist Church of Hammond v. Felipe Andrade, a minor, by his mother and custodial parent, Manuela Andrade (NFP)

City of Muncie v. Stanley Benford (NFP) - forfeiture at issue

In the Matter of: B.G., a Child in Need of Services; B.T. v. Indiana Department of Child Services (NFP)

Christopher Groce and Tracey Groce v. American Family Insurance Company and Michael A. Meek (NFP)

NFP criminal opinions today (4):

Damion Martin v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Brian Rinearson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Leonard Beaty v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Calvin Horton v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 6, 2013 10:24 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions